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Keywords:

  • confocal microscopy;
  • cornea;
  • laser scanning

Abstract

The demands of modern ophthalmology have evolved from descriptive findings from the slit lamp to in vivo assessment of cellular level changes. Nowadays, the latter can be provided by in vivo confocal microscopy. This article gives an overview of confocal principles using tandem scanning, scanning slit and laser scanning techniques used in ophthalmology. The main part of the paper describes the clinical applications emphasizing the anatomy of the normal and pathological cornea, and illustrates side-effects of topical medication, contact lens wear, cross-linking and refractive surgery. Finally, a summary about experimental applications, including animal studies, surface characterization and volume rendering as well as future developments, is given.